Who is undertaking the research?
The research is being undertaken by LiLaC in partnership with fellow SPHR member institutions including the universities of Sheffield, Cambridge, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and FUSE, a collaboration of universities in North East England. The overall project is led by Professor Nigel Bruce at the University of Liverpool.
Why has this research been developed?
The project focuses on the World Health Organisation Age Friendly Cities (AFCs) initiative. The AFCs initiative is a city-wide programme of interventions across the following eight - mutually interacting - social, environmental and service-related domains: Outdoor spaces and buildings, Transportation, Housing, Social participation, Respect and social inclusion, Civic participation and employment, Communication and information & Community support and health services. This research intends to ensure that development and implementation of initiatives intended to make urban settings age-friendly are evidence-informed, and evaluated.
What is the Age-Friendly Cities initiative?
The AFCs initiative is an international effort to help cities prepare for two global demographic trends: the rapid ageing of populations and increasing urbanization. The programme targets the environmental, social and economic factors that influence the health and wellbeing of older adults. In 2006, WHO brought together 33 cities in 22 countries for a project to help determine the key elements of the urban environment that support active and healthy ageing. The result was The Global Age-friendly Cities Guide which outlines a framework for assessing the “age friendliness” of a city. A core aspect of this approach was to include older people as active participants in the process.
How is the research being carried out?
The research is being undertaken in two phases, starting in 2013 and ending March 2017:
Phase 1 – evidence review and development of methodology (3 years):
- Develop an evidence-based tool for assessing age-friendliness and added value of existing and planned initiatives. Pilot-test tool on a selection of existing and planned interventions for older people in different city sectors and on wider AFC approach in selected UK AFCs.
- Explore feasibility of developing a typology of AFC approaches. Explore different study designs for evaluating component interventions and overall AFC initiative, and propose a methodology for application in Phase 2.
Phase 2 – evaluation; urban database analyses (UK & Europe) (2 years):
- To evaluate the delivery, impact and efficiency of the AFC initiative in Liverpool and other UK AFCs as comprehensively as is feasible, including process evaluation with a focus on governance and management frameworks.
- Drawing on existing UK and European datasets to explore the impact of physical and social environmental components of active ageing (the framework that underpins the AFC initiative) in towns and cities in England and other countries in Europe that are not currently participating in the AFC initiative.
What will the research provide?
The project is designed to generate learning and an evaluation tool that will inform local, UK, European and global policy and practice. Outputs in the form of publications and presentations will be produced. Steering and advisory groups and planned collaboration with relevant networks at different levels are critical communication channels through which findings can find their way into policy and practice. The intention is to make the work readily accessible to the WHO global network of cities, for example by presenting it at the WHO’s international conferences on AFCs, and by making it available through the WHO website.